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This is the curse of time. Alas !
In grief I am not all unlearnid; Once thro' mine own doors Death did pass;
One went, who never hath return'd.
He will not smile—not speak to me
Once more. Two years his chair is seen Empty before us. That was he
Without whose life I had not been.
Your loss is rarer; for this star
Rose with you thro' a little arc Of heaven, nor having wander'd far
Shot on the sudden into dark.
I knew your brother : his mute dust
I honour and his living worth : A man more pure and bold and just
Was never born into the earth,
I have not look'd upon you nigh,
Since that dear soul hath fall'n asleep. Great Nature is more wise than I :
I will not tell you not to weep.
And tho' mine own eyes fill with dew,
Drawn from the spirit thro’ the brain, I will not even preach to you,
“ Weer, weeping dulls the inward pain.” Let Grief be her own mistress still.
She loveth her own anguish deep More than much pleasure. Let her will
Be done—to weep or not to weep.
I will not say “God's ordinance
Of Death is blown in every wind;" For that is not a common chance
That takes away a noble mind.
His memory long will live alone
In all our hearts, as mournful light That broods above the fallen sun,
And dwells in heaven half the night.
Vain solace ! Memory standing near
Cast down her eyes, and in her throat Her voice seem'd distant, and a tear
Dropt on the letters as I wrote.
I wrote I know not what. In truth,
How should I soothe you anyway, Who miss the brother of your youth !
Yet something I did wish to.say:
For he too was a friend to me:
Both are my friends, and my true breast Bleedeth for both; yet it may be
That only silence suiteth best.
Words weaker than your grief would make
Grief more. 'Twere better I should cease ; Although myself could almost take
The place of him that sleeps in peace.
Sleep sweetly, tender heart, in peace :
Sleep, holy spirit, blessed soul, While the stars burn, the moons increase,
And the great ages onward roll.
Sleep till the end, true soul and sweet.
Nothing comes to thee new or strange. Sleep full of rest from head to feet;
Lie still, dry dust, secure of change.
You ask me, why, tho’ ill at ease,
Within this region I subsist,
Whose spirits falter in the mist, And languish for the purple seas ?
It is the land that freemen till,
That sober-suited Freedom chose,
The land, where girt with friends or foes A man may speak the thing he will ;
A land of settled government,
A land of just and old renown,
Where Freedom broadens slowly down From precedent to precedent :
Where faction seldom gathers head,
But by degrees to fullness wrought,
The strength of some diffusive thought Hath time and space to work and spread.
Should banded unions persecute
Opinion, and induce a time
When single thought is civil crime, And individual freedom mute;
Tho' Power should make from land to land
The name of Britain trebly great
Tho' every channel of the State Should almost choke with golden sand
Yet waft me from the harbour-mouth,
Wild wind! I seek a warmer sky,
And I will see before I die